Author Archives: Joel D. Hirst

About Joel D. Hirst

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist and a playwright. His most recently released work is "Dreams of the Defeated: A Play in Two Acts" about a political prisoner in a dystopian regime. His novels include "I, Charles, From the Camps" about the life of a young man in the African camps and "Lords of Misrule" about the making and unmaking of a jihadist in the Sahara. "The Lieutenant of San Porfirio" and its sequel "The Burning of San Porfirio" are about the rise and fall of socialist Venezuela (with magic).

Harsh Times

There’s a tragedy in Mario Vargas Llosa’s writing that is hard to endure. A brutality that is too common; a ridiculousness which might be funny if it were not so harsh and wicked. They are joyless novels, at least the … Continue reading

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Musa Dagh

Musa Dagh is a tabletop mountain on the Mediterranean in southern Turkey or northern Syria where 5000 Armenians set to be marched to their deaths in the 1915 genocide decided to make a stand. It is a true story, and … Continue reading

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A Christmas Blessing in Troubled Times

It’s been a little bit hard getting into the Christmas spirit this season. Perhaps COVID fatigue, it has us all down – the level of death compounded by stress of uncertainty and the rage we all experience against the limitations … Continue reading

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To Talk of Many Things… (Vol. #12 – Chile)

Latin America never misses a chance to miss an opportunity. How do you take the most prosperous nation in the region and ruin it? It’s a story that is told over and over until the telling is really not even … Continue reading

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Goodreads Year In Review – 2021

I like to look back upon the books I read during a given year. A sense of accomplishment, a feeling that I’ve learned something. To remember things that moved me; where I was or what I was doing. Sitting in … Continue reading

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On Vargas Llosa and Writing

What makes great writers great? I’ve often wondered that. I’ve stumbled across dusty stories once-translated and lost to time in the ancient bookstalls of Armenia that are breathtaking; then I try and re-read Hemingway every other year, realizing that life … Continue reading

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Midnight at the Pera Palace

“Everybody is writing their Turkey books,” said Rose Macaulay in “Towers of Trebizond“. The Black Sea region of the world is the oldest. Jason and his Argonauts – the chaining of Prometheus. The confluence of empires: Russian and Ottoman and … Continue reading

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To Talk of Many Things… (Vol. #11 – Armenia and Azerbaijan)

It has been just over a year since Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a ceasefire to end the ’44 Day War’. A war started by Azerbaijan in order to gain back land they lost more than 25 years ago following a … Continue reading

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To Talk of Many Things… (Vol. #10 – China)

But wait a bit,’ the Oysters cried,      Before we have our chat;For some of us are out of breath,      And all of us are fat! Today we obsess about China. Much like for the last twenty years, it was ISIS bombers in … Continue reading

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I didn’t expect to read “Hunger”, cover to cover, on Thanksgiving. Sometimes a book surprises you, bringing you along, making it impossible to put down. It is fitting, though, perhaps, given the subject matter, the day and the state of … Continue reading

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